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Mental health tips for parents


Putting your mental health first is an important life skill that everyone should learn to prioritize. Sometimes, though, parents forget about their own mental health in order to put their children first. Of course, most parents will always want to put their kids first and make sure they are happy and healthy before anything, but what if a parent neglects their own mental health?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) brings attention to a recent study about how parents’ mental health can affect their children. “One in 14 children aged 0–17 years had a parent who reported poor mental health, and those children were more likely to have poor general health, to have a mental, emotional, or developmental disability, to have adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to violence or family disruptions including divorce, and to be living in poverty.” [1] The information that came from this study shows that if a parent is neglecting their own mental health, even if they are doing so to put their children first, they still may be causing their children to have a negative experience and poor mental health.


Given that making sure parents are setting aside time to nurture their own mental health is important for not only them, but their children as well, here are some tips to get parents, and others, started on their mental health journey: [2]

  • Don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need them

    • Everyone needs a break every now and then, but being a parent can sometimes make taking breaks seem hard. Don’t feel pressured to be “on” 100 percent of the time, and set time aside to do something that can help you relax and reload.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    • Many parents might feel as if they shouldn’t need to ask for help or that asking for help is shameful or embarrassing, but that is not the case at all. Asking for help is completely okay and normal, and it shows that you are taking the steps to better your mental health for yourself and your children. Asking for help can mean different things, like asking friends or family members for advice or assistance, or asking a mental health professional for help. Whatever help might mean to you, never be reluctant to ask.

  • Don’t be afraid to accept help

    • This may sound the same as the tip above, but it’s a bit different. Maybe a friend or family member notices you aren’t your best self when they visit and they offer to help you in some way. You might feel as if you should brush off the offer and decline, but that wouldn’t really benefit you in any way, causing things to stay the same. Accept the help, and it might be worth your while.

Check with a professional if you are seriously concerned about your mental health, and know that they are there to help you.


References:

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 22). Supporting parents to help children thrive. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/supporting-parents.html


2. McIsaac, J. (2021, November 17). Understanding Mental Health & Improving it for parents of children with disabilities. Exceptional Lives.


 

Contributors:

Author: Lauryn Agron

Editor: Kayjah Taylor

Health scientist: Joanna Gudino


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